Today is Teach Children to Save Day—and a good reminder to clue our kids in to the benefits of setting aside money. But let's be honest: Teaching kids to save is an important part of financial readiness every day, so that they can have a brighter future. As a mom of seven, teaching my kids to save was a very important part of my parenting plan. It has paid off because my young adult children have great credit scores, little to no debt and have savings accounts for a rainy day. These tips can help you do it, too:
I taught my kids to save by giving them an allowance. You can start this practice at around age 7, depending on the individual child's readiness. We had a piggy bank that included a bank, a store, and a church so that they could save, spend, and share in a meaningful way. However, you could look on Pinterest and create banks with your kids to include a jar for saving, spending, and sharing. We had them take their allowance and put a portion in each of the three banks. We also had them put money they got from grandma in those banks as well. Once they had about $10 in the piggy bank, we took them to a local bank that had kiddie banking accounts. Wells Fargo has kids savings accounts (Kids Savings Account | Wells Fargo), as do Capital One 360 (Kids Savings Account - Capital One 360) and US Bank (Kids Savings Accounts | Star Savers Club Child ... - US Bank). There's something about taking a child to a bank to open their own savings account that makes the concept of saving more real to them. Our kids got excited about saving money when they were young and they carried that skill into their adulthood.
There is also value in a child working around the house to earn money that they can save. It's one thing to save money that you get from grandma, it's quite another thing to save money that you earned by working hard. Not only does a child develop a good work ethic by doing extra work for her parents or grandparents, but they also feel more satisfaction when they watch that money grow in their own savings accounts.
Another thing parents can do is to have a "kids savings club" with other like-minded parents. The club can meet once a month and a different parent can be in charge of each meeting (and host it at their house). Kids get together and make banks to save their money and play games that help them learn how to save, share and spend. Money Games for Kids | Grades K-5 | Kids.gov has some great ideas on how to learn more about money.
Ellie Kay is a family financial expert, the author of The 60-Minute Money Workout, and a mom of seven. Read more of her advice at elliekay.com.